By Charmaine A. Tadalan
THE HOUSE of Representatives, voting 162-10, on Tuesday approved on third and final reading the bill strengthening the Office of the Solicitor-General (OSG) and also abolishing in the process the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG).
The PCGG, established through Executive Order No. 1, s. 1986, by former President Corazon C. Aquino, was created to recover the ill-gotten wealth and properties of the late dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos.
House Bill (HB) 7376 on the OSG Charter will also abolish the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel (OGCC) and transfer its functions to the OSG to eliminate overlap. Employees affected by the transfer due to redundancy or failure to comply with the required qualifications may, according to the bill, opt to retire or avail themselves of a separation package.
Among the measures provided by the bill is the creation of at least 50 legal divisions in the OSG, which will be led by an assistant solicitor-general with at least 10 lawyers and personnel.
Further, the bill also proposes to repeal Republic Act No. 9417, “An Act to Strengthen the Office of the Solicitor General By Expanding and Streamlining Its Bureaucracy, Upgrading Employee Skills and Augmenting Benefits,” and R.A. No. 2327,” An Act to Declare the Position of Government Corporate Counsel Distinct and Separate from that of the Solicitor General, Provide for His Appointment and Salary and Appropriate the Necessary Funds Therefor.”
The bill was principally authored by Speaker Pantaleon D. Alvarez and co-authored by Majority Leader Rodolfo C. Fariñas, Deputy Speakers Gwendolyn F. Garcia and Sharon S. Garin, Deputy Majority Leader Arthur R. Defensor Jr., and Rep. Reynaldo V. Umali, among others.